As much of the world slowly eases away from coal as a major source of energy, coal may be the immediate solution to Pakistan’s energy crisis.
As the country continues to suffer from brown-outs and compensation for these troubles continues to pull on the country’s economy, the discovery of massive coal reserves could provide a century-long reprieve.
The discovery of a massive coal reserve in Pakistan’s Tharparkar district has locals training for new jobs in the industry. The discovery of Pakistan’s first open-pit coal mine is being hailed as the answer to Pakistan’s long-lasting energy crisis. While most of the world is trying to move away from coal towards green energy, Pakistan’s energy troubles have pushed the country back in the opposite direction. While many Thar locals are very pleased with the massive energy project, Pakistani environmental activists have voiced their concerns over the health and environmental impact of such a huge coal-powered energy project. On one hand, coal energy is non-renewable, causes personal health difficulties, and produces large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), which contributes to climate change. On the other hand, coal is highly affordable, easy to burn, reliable, and this particular coal energy project could power all of Pakistan for about a century.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has led to China investing in 21 energy projects in Pakistan, many of which are coal-powered. Other CPEC-backed projects include solar, wind, and hydro energy. So, while most of the world is moving away from coal, Tharparkar’s now 2 billion tonnes of proven reserves are the only real solution for Pakistan’s energy crisis which wouldn’t rely heavily on consistent imports from other countries. Pakistan’s economy has been held back by a reliance on imports in several sectors, including energy, so it’s quite likely that Tharparkar coal will be seen as the solution to several of Pakistan’s economic challenges.